Italy to rebuild Colosseum floor for cultural events

Italy pledges new funds for Colosseum restoration.

Italy has pledged €18 million of state funds to rebuild the Colosseum's central arena floor, by the end of 2018, to be used in “cultural events of the highest level”, according to culture minister Dario Franceschini.

The minister made the announcement on 1 July during the unveiling of the partially-restored Colosseum, whose exterior is now fully cleaned at a cost of €6.5 million.

The three-year cleaning process was part of a €25 million restoration project being funded by Diego Della Valle, the owner of luxury shoe company Tod's. The next stage in the process includes strengthening the 2,000-year-old basement network of tunnels and cells, once used for gladiators and wild animals, under the proposed new arena floor.

Also present at the Colosseum on 1 July was Italian premier Matteo Renzi who hailed the restoration as an example of preserving Italy's vast cultural heritage. “The days of complaining there is no money for culture is over”, Renzi said. “Public and private, the resources are there."